By Ricardo Flores Angel, Newhall Community Contributors
All Soul’s Day and Día De Los Muertos are celebrated on Thursday November 2. The two holidays are similar but quite different in origin and how they are celebrated. All Soul’s Day is a Catholic Holiday which follows All Saint’s Day a church Holy Day on November 1. All Soul’s Day and Día De Los Muertos are celebrated on November 2. The early Catholic Church established All Saint’s Day as a Holy Day to celebrate all the saints recognized by the Catholic Church. It occurs after Halloween a pagan holiday celebrated on October 31.
Halloween is a night when goblins, witches, and ghosts wander the earth getting into mischief, and eat lots of candy. The early Church must have noticed that most of its members still practiced Halloween. All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day were added as Holy Days in 835. All Soul’s Day is a day to remember our loved ones who have passed away, a day to pray for their souls. Catholics believe that our souls go to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory when we die. Purgatory is for souls who weren’t quite good enough to go straight to Heaven or bad enough to go to Hell. Catholics can pray for those souls in Purgatory so that they may be able to join the rest of the family in Heaven. This practice led to Indulgences, prayers sold by the Church which to Reformers seemed like a bribe. Martin Luther objected to the practice and started the Protestant Revolution in 1517.
When the Catholic Church came to the Americas they found that the Native Americans already celebrated a 3-day feast known as Día De Los Muertos. Native Americans believe that the souls of their loved ones and ancestors live among them to help guide individuals though their Life Journey. Día De Los Muertos is more of a celebration with music, dancing and shrines to those who have died before us. It has become more and more popular in the United States.